To the critics, a few notes on the sources | Opinion
Since so many of my critics have written increasingly harsh letters, mostly defaming me for my views expressed, I thought I would write this week about how I find the information that supports my claims.
For starters, most reviews of what I write lean heavily not on the factual argument, but mostly on my right to say so. These people are what we call authority-oriented, and they react badly to anyone who disputes their confirmation bias. What is confirmation bias? It is the mental process of only looking for evidence that agrees with your opinion. Your decision is made and any information that could change it is viewed with extreme prejudice. I even coined a term for this information – it’s called a “disqualifying narrative”. For example, if I tell part of the readership that the masks don’t work, they literally start screaming.
I am not here to write for the confirmation bias of people. They are NOT my audience. In fact, I listen to both sides, and when it comes to COVID-19, I’ve added a resource where I’m going to look for original academic articles. My guide, who comes every day, is called MedPage Today. MedPage Today is literally a large, somewhat neutral tent, where academic articles mingle with opinion pieces on all medical matters. From there you can go to the various medical archives and read the papers. I always focus on the “methods” sections of all articles. Most of the academic literature on COVID-19 is junk (I’m not the only person saying this) but because I’m a trained professional it’s not very difficult to pick those papers that are rubbish .
I am also looking at the original large-scale data. Things like the Health and Human Services website have hospital occupancy figures, updated daily. You can check the real numbers with screams from the press. Notes from last year – we had a hospital overflow. This year, no. Does this mean that we have adequately treated rural health care? Well no. But that’s a different problem. It’s easily verifiable, of course, but apparently it’s not a good story for the press that goes along with the mainstream narrative of the COVID collapse. I think it’s also time to congratulate the administrators of our two local hospitals who really tried to allay local fears.
I also look a lot at time series / trend data, readily available from Google. When I say “masks don’t work” it’s because now it’s pretty well established that unless you have an N95 on your face, they don’t squat. But you can also look at hospitalizations after mask warrants and see that as a public health policy movement these are total failures. So much so that it’s embarrassing that people go back there.
All of this is the thought of COVID Zero. I rarely try to distract the public from the ethics of all of this, except for the children. Hiding the kids isn’t effective – it solves what we call the “Illinois shark attack” problem – it can happen, but there just aren’t many landlocked sharks. But even if it did, it’s still wrong to torture children with masks all day. We delay their development and spoil what should be happy memories. And with children with special needs, we literally torture them.
I don’t expect my criticisms of “cancellation culture” to back down. They project their pathetic way of handling information onto me. People have sent me articles from the New York Times, yelled at me in work emails, and even one has sent me a Popular Science article, like it’s “closed.” You tell me what is persuasive for you.
Criticism – keep writing these letters in the journal. You add to the historical record and show that you are at least 3 to 6 months behind. I aim to be on the right side of history, even if that means suffering now. This is my obligation to my true readership.
Finally, one last thought – do you think things are going so well with Fauci? Wait two weeks. The news cycle will totally derail. Stay tuned.
Pezeshki is Professor of Mechanical and Materials Engineering at Washington State University.